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What Are Credit Counseling Agencies?

learning what are credit counseling agenciesMany Americans are struggling to manage debt. Credit counseling is one resource that can help. But what are credit counseling agencies? Let’s take a look at the different kinds of credit counseling agencies and what they do.

Answering What Are Credit Counseling Agencies?

Credit counseling is a financial service that educates and assists consumers with debt relief options. It builds confidence and leads to financial freedom. Additionally, credit counseling enables consumers to make good financial decisions in the future.

There are a number of companies that offer credit counseling, both for-profit and non-profit debt management companies. And since no one does anything for free, it’s important to pay for the very best credit counseling service- not the most money. Here are some key facts to help you choose the right agency for you.

For-Profit Credit Counseling Services

For-profit credit counseling services provide a service for a fee, or two or three. The fees can be quite high, especially compared to non-profit agencies. This is one way they earn their money. They also profit off charging you interest. It’s critical to thoroughly investigate the fee structure and fine print before choosing a for-profit company.

Non-Profit Credit Counseling Services

Conversely, a non-profit company is solely out to help and educate its clients. However, they still need to collect fees to provide their services. This is typically a much safer option than a for-profit company.

Let’s look at ACCC for a more specific cost example. Consumers working with ACCC receive a free budget counseling session. If the next move is to enter the debt management program, there is a one-time fee of $39 in most states. After that, there is a monthly maintenance fee of $5 per account with a minimum of $5 and a maximum of $50. The monthly maintenance fee may be waived or reduced depending on your state’s regulations or financial hardship. As a non-profit agency, the fees help to defray the cost of providing services to the many enrolled individuals. ACCC prides itself in having the lowest effective fee structure in the industry.

Look for these key features when selecting a credit counseling agency:

  • Non-profit organization
  • Have been in business for at least seven years
  • Licensed in your state
  • Charge no minimum fees and are prepared to waive your fees if you simply cannot afford to pay them
  • All the counselors should be certified
  • Member of one of these organizations: the NFCC or AICCCA

Now that you can answer, “What are credit counseling agencies,” it’s time to start getting out of credit card debt. Make the right choose by doing research and following the criteria above to select a reputable non-profit credit counseling agency.

To speak with a certified credit counselor about managing your finances, call ACCC today at 800-769-3571. 

ABOUT AUTHOR / Michelle

Michelle is a regular contributor to Talking Cents. She has taken several financial courses on debt management and is ready to circulate what she has learned from them as well as lessons from her own life- family to DIY projects to student loan debt.

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